Every year, New York's Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) gets together to vote on whether they should increase, decrease, or freeze rent for the city's rent-stabilized apartments. This year, in an effort to help local residents keep a roof over their heads, the RGB voted for a rent freeze. Though it was just a preliminary vote and will need to be finalized in June, this decision will affect almost one million apartment units that are rent-stabilized. If this might affect you, here's what you should know about it.
What Does the Preliminary Vote Mean & Who Supports It?
If the rent freeze is in fact finalized at the RGB's mid-June meeting, there would be a freeze on rent costs this year on one-year leases. For two-year leases, there would be a rent freeze for the first year, and then a 1% rent increase for the second year of rent.
This is good news for anyone worried about affording their rent-stabilized apartment this year. After all, rent increases are typical, as they were a fact of life for the last three years in a row. Just last year, the RGB increased rent on one-year leases by 1.5%, and by 2.5% for two-year leases.
The decision to keep rent the same price has its share of supporters all over New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio is just one of the supporters of this vote, as are many tenants' rights groups in NYC. They've shared their concerns that tenants could end up homeless due to not being able to afford their rent already, so if it were to increase, they would be facing an even more dire situation.
Who Opposes the Rent Freeze & Why?
On the other hand, landlord representatives across the city expressed concern for property owners, who have been losing money lately because many NYC tenants can't afford rent. As a result, landlords' rights advocates pushed for a rent increase so property owners could afford to keep paying for the mortgage and maintenance on their buildings.
Their proposal was to increase rent by 2-3% for one-year leases, and up to 5.5% for two-year leases. They wanted the rent increase to go into effect in January 2021 in order to give tenants enough time to financially recover from the current pandemic. However, the proposal didn't pass.
Now the people who oppose the rent freeze are worried that small property owners won't be able to continue to afford proper upkeep on apartment buildings. They've also said this rent freeze could delay NYC's overall recovery—especially regarding the housing market—from the pandemic in the long run.
If you live in a rent-stabilized apartment in NYC and have questions or concerns about this or other decisions surrounding the pandemic, talking to a local real estate lawyer could help. You deserve to know how new rules and regulations could affect you and your lease agreement. Contact a Great Neck real estate attorney today to find out what your legal rights are as a tenant in New York City!